From the chapter “A fundamental question” in Jiddu Krishnamurti’s The Awakening of Intelligence. This chapter was from a lecture delivered in Madras on Jan 12, 1968. The closing excerpt (reproduced here) made an impression on me.
Questioner: Sir, if we are not in the past, but in the present, does that also become the past and the future – how are we to know that we are right?
JK: You don’t have to be sure you are right — be wrong! Why are you frightened about being right or wrong? But your question has no validity at all because you are just talking, you are just theorising. You are saying, “If this happens, that would happen.” But if you put it into action then you would know there is no such thing as “going wrong.”
Questioner: Sir, when we go back home we see our children and the past comes in.
Questioner: Shankara may go.
JK: I hope it has gone. Shankara may go but the children remain. (Laughter) Are the children the past? They are in one sense. And as they are living human beings, can you educate them to live completely, in the way we are talking about?
Questioner: Right Sir, you have answered it, sorry.
JK: That means I have to help them to be intelligent, I have to help them to be sensitive, because sensitivity, highest sensitivity is the highest intelligence. Therefore if there are no schools around you, you have to help them at home to be sensitive, to look at the trees, to look at the flowers, to listen to the birds, to plant a tree if you have a little yard — or if you have no yard to have a tree in a pot and to look at it, to cherish it, to water it, not to tear its leaves. And as the schools do not want them to be sensitive, educated, intelligent (schools only exist to pass exams and get a job) you have to help them at home, to help them to discuss with you, why you go to a temple, why you do this ceremony, why you read the Bible, the Gita — you follow? — so that they are questioning you all the time, so that neither you nor anyone else becomes an authority. But I am afraid you won’t do any of this because the climate, the food, the tradition is too much for you, so you slip back and lead a monstrously ugly life. But I think, if you have the energy, the drive, the passion, that is the only way to live.